Let’s be honest: While your hospital annual report is a terrific marketing tool, creating it is a labor of love. It’s easy to get bogged down in gathering, writing and editing all the information you want to share. How can you get unbogged?

We’re here to help: We’ve rounded up best practices for healthcare annual reports — and included examples of providers doing them well. Read on for our top tips on how to write a hospital annual report.

Your Healthcare Annual Report: A Must-Have Marketing Tool

Hospital annual reports are one of the most effective branding tools in a healthcare marketer’s toolbox. These assets can share success stories with the community you serve, foster relationships with patients and even support your recruitment efforts.

If you’re ready to take your hospital annual report to the next level, follow these strategies:

Connect the Dots to Show Impact

When you highlight your organization’s achievements over the past year, look for ways to connect the dots using plain language. Show how these wins improve the patient experience.

For instance, if you opened a freestanding ER, maybe you’re saving patients 30 minutes of driving time to the nearest hospital. If you launched a Center of Excellence, how does it bring people closer to the experts they need in one place?

See it in action: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ annual report* uses specific details about breakthrough treatment, research and education to illustrate its “Zones of Impact.” (Bonus tip: CHLA offers both PDF and web versions, making it easy for visitors to access and engage with the report.)

writing annual reports

Showcase Your Data

Quantifying your impact with data lends specificity and credibility to your report. But steer clear of packing your pages with dense blocks of statistics.

Instead, showcase your most compelling data points in easily digestible formats, such as infographics. Visuals like maps or flow charts bring the numbers to life—and they’re easy to repurpose for your social media channels. Presenting data this way in hospital annual reports gives readers a 30,000-foot view of your organization’s scope and impact.

See it in action: Children’s Hospital Colorado’s annual report* smartly balances bold, colorful infographics with a human element. (Cute babies!)

creating hospital annual reports

Take a Stand

Your annual report is one of your most in-depth marketing pieces, so it’s a prime avenue for reinforcing your key messages. Weave your brand anthem throughout your report, from bold headlines to substantive body copy.

Declare what you stand for and why that matters to patients. Show how your values directly translate to providing better care.

See it in action: HCA Healthcare’s 2019 annual report is themed around its core beliefs, offering proof points for each of these values throughout the report.

writing for hospital annual reports

Put Patients Front and Center

Patient stories can lend social proof to your organization’s brand. You may have testimonials on hand, but it’s worth your time to interview patients and loved ones to capture their authentic voices. Make sure to interview their care team, too!

Amp up the emotion and empathy by taking your reader through the patient’s journey from beginning to end. What were they scared of? How did their care team support them? And what’s their life like now? Hospital annual reports are the perfect place to showcase this.

See it in action: Memorial Medical Center’s annual report tells the story of Donald, who received a kidney transplant, using heartfelt quotes: “I’m able to do things I haven’t been able to do for a long time,” he says.

copywriting for annual reports

Celebrate Your Team

Humanize your report by spotlighting your care team, from CEO to CNA. Dig deeper than their professional bios and credentials.

For instance, ask what inspired them to choose a medical career and what they’re most proud of in the past year. And tell stories about how they go above and beyond to support patients in challenging times.

See it in action: Sentara Heart’s annual report* tells the story of a doctor and nurse who made an impact by riding in the ambulance with a patient.

annual reports for health systems

Spotlight Donors and Volunteers

Go beyond including a list of donors — tell their stories in their own words. Recognize the key people who make your mission possible, whether by contributing financially or volunteering their time. These stories create positive reinforcement for current supporters and inspire other community members to make an impact.

See it in action: Firelands Regional Health System spotlights longtime donors Steve and Sharon and their commitment to expanding healthcare access in their community.

spotlight donors in annual reports

Bring It All Together

Annual reports elevate your hospital or health system’s brand by sharing your successes — and building relationships — with the community you serve. Take a page from these playbooks to maximize your annual report and save time in the process.

Stressed about putting together your healthcare organization’s annual report? We can help!

*This is an Aha Media Group client.

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